Our last morning in Wichita brought us to Jimmie’s Diner for breakfast. The owners of the restaurant happened to be there that morning, and we had the pleasure of visiting with them for a while. They made us feel like a couple of the locals, and filled us in on the interesting history of this unique restaurant chain.
The Early Days
Jimmie’s is named after A.J. “Jimmie” King, who had a long history with Wichita restaurants. He began by working for Walt Anderson, who created the White Castle chain in Wichita. It was the first hamburger stand in the nation, and it was right here in Kansas. King worked his way up the ranks, and eventually purchased the Wichita branch of White Castle in 1938. It was at this point that he changed the name to Kings-X. The business flourished after WWII, because of smart business practices. Good foresight told A.J. to expand to a full-service dining format, and Kings-X became known for family dining.
In 1987, Kings’ son opened the first Jimmie’s Diner, which he named after his father. The restaurants remained a family business until they were purchased in 2007 by Jack and Linda Davidson. Their son Joe joined them a year later, and they decided to keep the name Jimmie’s in honor of the chains interesting past. It was Linda and Joe who joined us that last morning in Wichita. It didn’t take long to see how dedicate they are to delivering great customer service. They greeted everyone who entered with a warm smile. After filling us in on the history, they returned to mingling with the other customers, and left us to surf the menu. Jimmie’s is a fun place to dine. The servers all dress like 1950’s carhops, and have names to match. Our server dropped back by to refill our coffee, and we chatted for a short bit. Everyone working at Jimmie’s were so friendly, we felt like locals.
Heaps of Helpings
Jimmie’s Diner serves breakfast throughout the day, but it was morning, and the only type of food on our mind. All of the menu items sounded good, and we were struggling to decide. We wanted to try something different than our standards, but what it was eluded us. About that time Linda and Joe stopped back by. I asked Joe what was the most picturesque breakfast item, and he quickly helped me choose my meal. Crystal had been speaking to Linda, and the selection she suggested must have been spot on, since Crystal put her menu down. That is a certain sign she has decided. Linda asked if we had ever tasted Fried Corn Meal Mush, which we had not. They insisted we sample it, as well as the apples with bacon, and headed off toward the kitchen. The Fried Mush was fairly bland on its own, but is served with honey to add sweetness. I’m not sure this is a dish I would pick on my own, but it is evidently fairly popular. The apples with bacon was another story. They were cinnamony (yes I made that word up) delicious. The bacon flavor was so slight that we barely noticed it, but we repeated our attempts until the dish was empty. Of course, this was done in the name of research.
I was a little surprised when Crystal chose pancakes for her meal. Now she eats them at home, when I make them, but I can’t remember the last time she ordered them at a restaurant. Her meal came with a couple of eggs, and her sausage links. She was quite satisfied with her choice, but allowed me a taste of the fluffy cakes she had been served. They had a nice texture, and were pretty light. I gave them a thumbs up, but Crystal wasn’t watching at that moment.
What Did I Get Myself Into?
My request to Joe for a picture friendly dish resulted in my choosing the Montecristo Omelette. When it arrived, I quickly saw the folly of my decision. Perhaps if we hadn’t had the extra side dishes, I might have been able to put a dent in this plate. As it was, I knew right away that I would be leaving a good portion on my departure. The omelet is made with three eggs, and a blend of ham, turkey, swish cheese, and American cheese. Did I mention that it is also stuffed with French Toast? To sweeten the deal it is topped with raspberry jelly. Of course, that alone would be a meal for most, but they toss in a serving of hash browns, as well. The combination of flavors in this Frankensteinish (another new word) creation is amazing. The savory meats and cheeses compliment the sweetness of the jelly and toast, so that it is difficult to find a stopping point. We finally threw in the towel, and pushed the plates away. We thanked everyone for their genuine kindness, and bid our goodbyes. I have to say that we almost felt as though we were leaving a family get together, it was that friendly. We certainly know where we will be eating breakfast on our next visit to Wichita.